Restaurant Reservations: The Complete Guide (2023)
One of the best ways to ensure your restaurant dining experience is unrivaled is to have restaurant reservations. This gives the restaurant a chance to prepare for customers’ parties and ensures they have a table waiting when they arrive.
It also allows them to choose their preferred time, so they don’t have to wait for a table to open up. Restaurant reservations are a great way to ensure customers’ night out is everything they hoped it would be.
If you’re a customer planning on dining out at fine dining or a Michelin Star restaurant, it’s always best to make a reservation ahead of time. That way, you can be sure you’ll get a table when you arrive. But what exactly is a reservation at a restaurant?
What Is a Reservation at a Restaurant?
A reservation at a restaurant is a way to ensure that you have a table available when you arrive. It is an agreement between a customer and a restaurant to reserve a table for a specific time and date. This allows the customer to guarantee their spot at the restaurant and ensures that the restaurant will be able to accommodate them.
Why Make a Restaurant Reservation?
Making a reservation allows you to avoid the disappointment of being turned away from a fully-booked restaurant. It guarantees you’ll get the table you want when you want it. Additionally, It shows your commitment to the restaurant, sometimes resulting in better treatment or even special discounts.
How Do I Make a Reservation at a Restaurant?
Making a restaurant reservation is easy. Call the restaurant of your choice and speak to the host or hostess. Give them your name, the number of your party, and the date and time you’d like to come in.
If the restaurant can accommodate you, they’ll take your information and confirm your reservation. If not, they’ll suggest alternative dates or times that might work better for you.
What If I Need to Cancel My Restaurant Reservation?
If you need to cancel your restaurant reservation, it’s important to do so as soon as possible. Most restaurants require at least 24 hours notice for cancellations, and some may charge a fee if you cancel with less than that.
To avoid this, call the restaurant and let them know that you need to cancel your reservation. They will then be able to release the table for someone else.
Online Restaurant Reservation System
If you’re in the restaurant business, you know how important it is to keep track of your reservations. Besides having enough tables for everyone to arrive, you need to make sure the front of house (FOH) staff is prepared for every guest.
That’s where an online restaurant reservation system comes in. A centralized system for tracking and managing your reservations ensures that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
How a Reservation System Can Benefit Your Business
Reservation systems can provoke a digital transformation in your eatery. Here are five benefits that a reservation system provides:
1. Staff Scheduling
Restaurant reservations make it easy to schedule your FOH staff in advance. It allows you to see how many guests are coming in and who needs to be there when guests arrive to accommodate them. This helps reduce the labor cost and ensures that your guests always have the best possible experience.
2. Inventory and Specials Planning
Knowing how many guests you will serve, you can accurately plan your inventory and specials. You can feel confident that you have the proper ingredients on hand. With this in mind, you'll also have the peace of mind that guests are getting the best experience. It also helps reduce food waste and shrinkage and ensures that your customers always have access to their favorite dishes.
3. Delight Repeat Guests
You can track your guests’ preferences and special requests by taking reservations. This way, you can go above and beyond to make each guest’s experience unique and memorable – which will surely bring them back again.
When you take reservations, you have the opportunity to create a database of your most loyal guests. This way, you can recognize and reward them with your loyalty program.
Knowing who is coming in for reservations allows you to give them the VIP treatment! You can offer them special discounts or complimentary items based on their reservation. This helps build loyalty and keep them coming back.
4. Make Front-of-House Jobs Easier
By having a reservations system in place, your FOH staff will have an easier time seating guests and managing the dining room. When guests are seated in an orderly fashion, it’s easier for servers to keep track of their orders and ensure that everyone is getting the best possible service. This results in improved customer satisfaction and fewer issues for your staff.
You can set up alerts for when guests are due to arrive so that the host or hostess knows when to seat them. This way, there’s no need to keep track of everything manually.
Once the staff has all the information they need in a single platform, it becomes easily accessible. The best part, is that such data is accessible at all times.
5. Turn Tables Faster
Taking reservations allow you to control the seating flow in your restaurant, making it easier to turn tables faster. This increases revenue for your business.
Why You Need a Restaurant Reservations System
You could be missing crucial growth and operational efficiency opportunities if you’re still using paper or relying on your staff to track everything manually. A good restaurant technology, such as a reservations system, can help you solve several common problems, including:
- Avoiding Empty Tables On Slow Nights
With a reservation system, you can see at a glance which times are popular and which times are slower. This information can help you make informed decisions about how to staff your restaurant on any given night.
- Reducing Your No-Show Rate
When guests make a reservation, they’re more likely to show up for their reservation time because they don’t want to lose their spot. This frees up tables for other guests and helps you better utilize your restaurant’s capacity.
If you’re not using a reservation system, tracking no-shows and properly planning for them can be hard. But with a system in place, you can see patterns emerge and take steps to reduce the number of no-shows at your restaurant.
- Providing a Better Guest Experience
When guests make a reservation, they should feel like they’re getting a custom experience tailored just for them. A good reservations system will allow you to input special requests and notes to provide each guest with the best possible experience.
- Eliminating the Need for Manual Double-Entry of Table Information
All information is stored in one place when you take reservations online. This means that you won’t have to enter it into your POS system or another software program. This saves you time and helps you avoid errors.
- Over Or Under Scheduling
It can be hard to predict how many guests you’ll have on any night, leading to over- or under-scheduling. A reservations system can help you handle your guest count better and staff your restaurant accordingly.
- Mandatory On-Site Organization
If you don’t have a system in place, your staff will likely spend a lot of time each night trying to figure out who’s sitting where. A good reservations system will allow you to input table information in advance so that everyone knows where guests should be seated when they arrive.
If you’re ready to take your restaurant to the next level, it’s time to invest in a good reservation system. With all of its benefits, it’s an essential tool for any successful business.
Implementing a reservations system can have several benefits for your restaurant. Keep these six reasons in mind if you’re thinking about doing it.
Why You Need an Online Restaurant Reservation System
If you are running a restaurant, chances are you’ve considered getting an online reservation system. An online reservation system can save you time and money and make your restaurant more efficient and organized.
Here’s a look at some of the top reasons to get an online reservation system for your restaurant:
Convenience for Customers
With an online reservation system, customers can easily see the available times and choose the time that best suits their needs. They can also input any special requests they might have—such as requesting a table in the non-smoking section or asking to be seated near the window—so that you can be sure to accommodate them when they arrive.
Better Management of Bookings
An online restaurant reservation system helps you manage your bookings better. When you receive a reservation online, you can input it into your system and have all the necessary information—such as the customer’s name, contact information, and the number of people in their party—stored in one place.
This is especially helpful if you start receiving many reservations, as it can be difficult to track them all when they’re coming in via phone or email. An online system allows you to easily see which times are booked up and ensure no reservations are lost in the shuffle.
Ability to Upsell
An online reservation system allows you to upsell your customers on special restaurant menus or a wine pairing option. When a customer makes a reservation, you can include information about any current promotions or specials you’re running.
You can also use the system to suggest add-ons, such as a bottle of wine to accompany their meal or a whiskey cake to enjoy for dessert. Upselling your customers this way increases your restaurant’s average ticket size and boost profitability.
Want to know what is upselling? Find out here.
An online reservation system can save you much time. When customers call to make a reservation, they often have to be put on hold while you check your availability. With an online system, customers can check availability and book a table without waiting on the phone.
No-shows are a big problem for restaurants. When customers don’t show up for their reservations, it costs you money in lost revenue. An online reservation system can help reduce no-shows by sending automatic reminders to customers before their reservation time.
An online reservation system can help you increase revenue by filling up empty tables that would otherwise go unused. Customers booking online are more likely to show up for their reservation and take advantage of your available seating.
Better Organize Your Restaurant
An online reservation system can help you better organize your restaurant by keeping track of your reservations and customer information in one place. An online system lets you see which times are popular for reservations and ensure you’re prepared for busy periods.
Create a Better Customer Experience
An online reservation system can help you make customers happy and secure their table reservation. Your customers will appreciate the convenience of checking availability online and booking ahead of time, which will make them more likely to come back to your restaurant in the future.
As you can see, there are many benefits to using an online reservation system for your restaurant. Your customers will appreciate the convenience, and you’ll be able to manage your bookings better—it’s a win-win situation. If you’re not already using one, now is the time to start!
Benefits of a POS-Integrated Reservation System
A POS-integrated reservation system can make a big difference in how your restaurant runs. Here are three benefits of using such a system:
- Seamless data transfer: A POS-integrated reservation system ensures that your customer data is transferred seamlessly to your POS system. This means that you don’t have to manually enter reservations into your POS system, which can save you a lot of time and hassle.
- Increased Efficiency: Restaurant POS integration saves time and increases efficiency. Your staff can easily access reservation information from the POS, whether on or off-premise—eliminating the need to switch back and forth between various systems. Learn more about on premise vs off premise here.
- Own your data: When you use a POS-integrated system, you own your data. This means that you can export it and use it however you like. You’re not limited to the features of the reservation system, so you can use your data to create custom reports and consumer analytics.
Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Reservations
What are the Types of Restaurant Reservations?
There are two types of restaurant reservations:
- Consumer-facing reservation websites allow customers to book tables at restaurants online or through a mobile app.
- Operator-facing management platforms provide restaurants with a way to manage their reservations, table availability, and guest information.
Some restaurant reservation systems offer both consumer-facing and operator-facing features, while others focus exclusively on one or the other.
Why Is Restaurant Reservation Important?
Reservations are important for restaurants because they ensure that the restaurant can accommodate its guests. By having a reservation, the restaurant can plan ahead for the number of people who will be dining and prepare accordingly.
Additionally, reservations allow restaurants to better manage their seating arrangements and helps prevent overcrowding.
What Is Online Reservation System?
An online reservation system is a software application that enables businesses to take and manage customer bookings. It allows customers to book appointments or make reservations for services, products, events, and more via the internet. Online reservation systems are used by various industries, including the restaurant industry and the hospitality industry.
What Is Table and Reservation System?
A table and reservation system helps restaurants manage their seating and bookings. This type of system enables customers to reserve tables in advance, which helps reduce wait times and ensure that everyone gets a chance to enjoy their meal.
How Many Minutes Does a Restaurant Hold a Table for Reservation?
The average restaurant holds a table for a reservation for 15 minutes. Just remember that this factor can vary based on the restaurant and its style. Location and branding can also play a factor. For example, fine dining establishments may hold a table for longer than a casual eatery.